More about designing with embedded FPGAs

January 02, 2009

Bernard Cole-January 02, 2009

For your convenience, collected here the most recent How-To and Technical Insight articles on on field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), programmable logic devices (PLDs), and other  reconfigurable devices and systems. We are constantly updating this list, so check back occasionally to see what's new:


Achieve higher accuracy using mixed signal FPGA calibration
Mixed signal FPGAs can be a key element in an effective in-circuit analog signal channel calibration technique.
Video encoding with low cost FPGAs for multichannel H.264 surveillance
Build a high performance  quad-channel H.264 encoder using low cost, low power FPGAs to deliver higher resolutions and frame rates.
Solving FPGA I/O pin assignment challenges
A step by step guide to helping you plan pin outs on complex FPGAs
Modular arithmetic - a devisive issue
Good techniques for FPGA implementations of the mod operation have not been widely known. Here's the scoop on the details.
How to improve FPGA based ASIC prototyping with SystemVerilog
FPGA prototyping is not without its difficulties, with one major obstacle being the connection of all the logic blocks both witin an FPGA and across multiple FPGA devices.
Replacing obsolete video game circuits with Xilinx CPLDs
The author repaces a defective part in a 1980s game system to show how to replace a range of parts that vendors are no longer producing.
How to defend agains clonng of your FPGA designs
Having your designed cloned by a competitor isn't fun. Here's how to foil such copying.
Product How-To: Building a configurable embedded processor
By combining Xilinx FPGAs, Impulse's EDA tools and a bit of inginuity, embedded designers can extend the instruction set of the processors running in the FPGAs to add their own fuctions to a design.
Bridging options enable FPGA based configurable computing
As PCI Express continues to invade embedded systems, the history of legacy PCI is repeating itself.
Use FPGAs to improve wireless subsystem performance
By off loading operations that require high speed parallel processing onto FPGAs, wireless system performance in such operatins as FIR filtering, FFTs, digital down and up conversion, and FEC blocks can be improved.
Microcontroller design in FPGAs
The union of MCU intellectual property cores with FPGAs provides far more flexible hardware platforms than traditional MCU ASSPs.
Product How-To: Analyze and reduce FPGA power using Libero IDE
Meeting lowpower FPGA design specs requires automatic power reduction capabilities coupled with sophisticated power analysis features.
How to interface FPGAs to MCUs
Neither microcontrollers or FPGAs were developed to communicate with each other efficiently, so interfacing the two can be a challenge.
Using programmable logic for efficient and effective DSP design.
With an FPGA front end that allows access to the latest I/O technology, as well as IP blocks for the latest standards, designers have the flexibility to choose the right interfaces without making changes in the DSP software.
Product How-To: Simplify power design development and evaluation for FPGA based systems
Topics convered: validation of power supply voltage at the FPGA,  real time monitoring of Vccint power consumption and realistic power estimates using accurate on-die teperture measurements.
Overcome the management complexity of FPGA/PCB pin synchronization
Given a unified electronics design tools, it is possible to overcome the increasing complexity of developing designs based on FPGAs and harness their benefits.
How to select CPLDs for handheld apps
CPLDs offer designers with a low cost system solution with significant advantages over traditional designs based on ASICs and ASSPs.t
Timing driven Simulink FPGA synthesis
The latests Simulink block sets take in top level system timing constraints to achieve a level of performance previously only possible with hand coded HDL.
Product How-To: Building a simple power supply for an FPGA - Part 1
Product How-To: Building a simple power supply for an FPGA - Part 2
DC/DC building block systems such as Linear Technology's micromodules are a good solution for simple and compact low voltage, high current power supply apps..
To accelerate or not to accelerate
Many of the implementations we use today are the way they are because of 40 years of von Neuman programming and thinking on non-configurable processor architectures.
How to perform meaningful benchmarks on FPGAs from different vendors
A suite of  unbiased and meaningful benchmarks that truly compare the hardware architectures and software design tools from FPGA vendors.
How to design portable handsets using CPLDs
The different ways in which complex PLDs can be used to address the shortcomings associated with hardset platforms.
Making design choices between DSPs and FPGAs
Systems designers face key questions during the architecture phase of their project. One of those questions: Whether to use an FPGA or a DSP?
DSP or FPGA? How to choose the right device.
Design guidelines you need to choose betwen an DSP or an FPGA
Product How-To: C-based processor design: Part 2: Datapath customization
How Cebatech's C2R C-to-RTL compiler was used to customize and validate the data path of a G723.2/G729.A speech coding accelerator.
Product How-To: C-based processor design: Part 1 - SIMD architecture
How Cebatech's C2R C-to-RTL compiler was used to implement a speech coding accelerator, which attaches to a scalar processor core, features a configurable mic4cro-architecture and instruction set architecture.
Product How-To: Multimode sensor processing with Ambrics's massively parallel processor arrays
A multimode sensor processor that is upwardly scalable, reconfigurable and programmable, wile reducing development costs and time to market.
Software defined silicon: Why can't hardware be more like soft ware?
It can, even though the next generation multicore designs mix programmable logic, CPU blocks and dedicated logic. But it requires a new approach to architectural design.
Getting FPG and PCB designers to agree on common I/O
Getting the pin assignment portion of the design process under control is essential in order to realize the benefits of FPGAs.
How to implement a HD video design framework for FPGAs
Exploring a video design framework that can allow for a faster design cycle: component can be used collectively or you can pick and choose as required.
Product How-To: Speed auto/industrial display design with Xylon cores, Xilinx FPGAs
A compact mutlimedia display development platform for automotive and industrial apps combines Xilinx FPGAs and Xylon IP cores to build a rear seat entertainment system using inexpensive twisted pair wiring, navgiation and human interfaces or process monitoring and control.
C to hardware tools add software-centricity to FPGAs in embedded systems
Here are some tools that can extend traditional methods of  programming FPGAs using HDLs or schmatics.
FPGA prototyping grows up
ASIC, ASSP and SoC development will always be a risky business. Here's a look at some alternatives.
Programming your own microcontroller
When this article was written 20 years ago, the FPGA was only five years old and not yet widely use. Here's an early how-to on PLD design that stands the test of time.
Using FPGAs to avoid microprocessor obselescence
The options available to designers facing microprocessor and microcontroller obsscelesence using FPGAs.
Product How-to: FPGA video programming with Agility's graphical environment
A review of Agility's Pixelstream graphical programming tools for image and video algorithms and an examination of the the design flow and how it works with Agiliity's C-based design environment.
Comparing IP integration approaches for FPGA imprementation
Avoiding the fixed routing and timetable of a standard bus can open up new avenues for design and restore a bit of glamour and creativity to a mundane project.
DSPs vs FPGAs for multiprocessing
Here's what available for high performance multiprocessor systems and how you can make the best choice between DSPs, FPGAs, or a hybrid mixture.
FPGA-based prototyping - Productivity to burn
Highlights of recent advanced in FPGA design that can help you set up, implement, and verify your FPGA-bsed ASIC prototype faster.
How to achieve timing closure in high-end FPGAs.
Using graph-bassed physical synthesis to achieve timing capacity in high density, high performance FPGAs.
FPGAs tackle MCU tasks -Part 2: Flexible CPUs
FPGAs offer flexibility to handle the explosion of electronic content in today's automotive systems.
FPGAs tackle MCU tasks -Part 1: App grouth strains ASIC architectures
FPGAs offer flexibility to handle the explosion of electronic content in today's automotive systems
Design recipes for FPGAs - A simple VGA interface
Here is a tutorial from a recently published book that provides a desktop reference for engineers who use FPGAs as their hardware platform.
The art of FPGA construction
Working with FPGAs isn't intimidating when you know the basic techniques and options

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